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DECEMBER 18, 1998   2:18 PM
CONTACT: Critical Mass Energy Project

Auke Piersma, 202-546-4996, ext. 318
Mary Olson, 202-338-0002
News Release from 100 Environmental and Consumer Organizations: Yucca Mountain & DOE's Viability Assessment: Showstoppers Abound
WASHINGTON - December 18 - Environmental and consumer organizations called today for Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to disqualify Yucca Mountain as the proposed site of a nuclear waste repository. The data within the Department of Energy's Viability Assessment (VA), released today, confirm that the site must be disqualified. Furthermore, the VA snubs necessary public involvement.

In the Viability Assessment, the scientific data supports the Petition to Disqualify Yucca Mountain, which 219 environmental organizations submitted on Nov. 18. The rapid water travel times from the proposed dump to the nearest wells supplying drinking water require the energy secretary to disqualify Yucca Mountain as a site to dump high-level nuclear waste. Several other concerns are likely showstoppers, including seismic activity, volcanic activity and geothermal upwelling.

"We object to the content of the report for its optimistic conclusions." the groups said. "Our petition has highlighted clear evidence of showstoppers. It is time for the DOE to stop the show and disqualify Yucca Mountain."

DOE models, despite their large uncertainties, predict massive radionuclide contamination, peaking up to 20 times above current radiation protection standards for other geologic waste dumps. "It is outrageous that DOE will continue to study this site when their own data predicts excessive radiation exposure to citizens of our nation," said Wenonah Hauter, the director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project.

Earlier this month, representatives of environmental and consumer groups met with Richardson to urge that the VA be written with an open democratic process that fosters public participation. However, the DOE has failed to solicit the views of citizens.

"We are frustrated with the DOE's lack of effort in upholding the integrity of the process to characterize Yucca Mountain," said Michael Mariotte, the executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. "The VA should be accompanied by several public hearings across the country in the many states that would be affected by this program."

The DOE says the VA is intended to present an assessment of Yucca Mountain at this time, but the agency has failed to allow for an outside independent peer review that is representative of the full range of concerns. The DOE should establish a convening body to select a representative group of peers across the full spectrum of issues and expertise, the groups said.

"The environmental community stands ready to nominate members of a convening body in an open process," said Hauter. "We also look forward to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board's review, but we encourage them to not stop short of the obvious conclusions of Yucca Mountain that need to be drawn."

Recent independent cost estimates for the Yucca Mountain program suggest a shortfall of $25 billion. "It would be outrageous for DOE to make the decision to go forward with more work at Yucca Mountain when the evidence in their own study - - a leaky mountain, leaky containers, and earthquakes - - disqualify the site. It is time to move on and stop wasting billions of dollars," said Ann Mesnikoff of Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program.

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Action for a Clean Environment * Alliance for Nuclear Accountability * Alliance to Close Indian Point * Alliance for Survival * American's for a Safe Future * Appalachia - Science in the Public Interest * Arizona Safe Energy Coalition * Atlanta Food Not Bombs * Baltimore's Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Cmte * Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition * Bison Land Resource Center * Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League * California Communities Against Toxins * Californians for Radioactive Safeguards * Center for Energy Research * Central Pennsylvania Citizens for Survival * Chenango North Energy Awareness Group * Chernobyl Children's Project * Chicago Media Watch * Citizen Alert * Citizen's Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT) * Citizens Awareness Network * Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana * Citizens For a Healthy Planet * Citizens League for Environmental Action & Recovery (CLEAR) * Citizens Protecting Ohio * Clean Environment * Coalition for Peace and Justice * Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes (CNFGL) * Connecticut Green Party * Desert Citizens Against Pollution * Don't Waste Oregon * Don't Waste Michigan (DWM) * E.D.E.N. Calendar of Southeast Michigan * Earth Day Coalition * Earth Care * Earth Concerns of Oklahoma * El Paso Chapter National Lawyers Guild * Environmental Advocates * Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Power * F.A.C.T.S. (For A Clean Tonawanda Site), Inc. * Flagstaff Opposed to Nuclear Transportation * Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice * Forces of Nature * FRIENDS of the COAST - Opposing Nuclear Pollution * GE Stockholders' Alliance * Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE) * Grandmothers for Peace International * Grass Roots Environmental Organization of New Jersey * Green Party of New Jersey * Hanford Watch * Heads Up Media * Institute for Local Self Reliance * Kalamazoo Area Coalition for Peace and Justice * Long Island SHAD (Sound & Hudson against Atomic Development) * Maryland Safe Energy Coalition * Massachusetts Citizens For Safe Energy * Native Forest Network - Eastern North American Resource Center * NC WARN * New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution * Non-Violent Student Organization- Kalamazoo College * Nuclear Information and Resource Service * Nuclear Waste Citizen's Coalition * Nuclear Energy Information Service * Nukewatch * Orange County Greens * Peace Action Maine * Pennsylvania Environmental Network (PEN) * Pennsylvania Consumer Action Network * Philadelphia Solar Energy Association * Physicians for Social Responsibility/Maine * Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles * Prairie Island Coalition * Public Citizen * RACE, Regional Association of Concerned Environmentalists * Redwood Alliance * Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center * Safe Energy Communication Council * Save Ward Valley * Sierra Blanca Legal defense/ El Paso * Sierra Club * Snake River Alliance * Solar Energy International * Southwest Research and Information Center * Southwest Toxic Watch * STAR (Standing for Truth About Radiation) * Stop Mobile Chernobyl!/People Against Unsafe Nuclear Transportation * Student Environmental Organization - Kalamazoo College * Students for a Sustainable Earth - Western Michigan U * SUN DAY Campaign * Swords into Plowshares Peace Center - Western Michigan University * The Radiation and Public Health Project * Three Mile Island Alert * Tippecanoe Environmental Council * Vermont Public Interest Research Group * Women Legislators' Lobby * Women's Action for New Directions * Women's International League for Peace & Freedom * World Tree Center for Peace, Justice and Mother Earth * Yggdrasil Institute *



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